New to SURS

New to SURS

  • SURS Receives Your Certification From Your Employer

  • Retirement Choice Packet Sent

  • Review Packet Materials

  • Submit Retirement Choice Election Form Within Six Months*

*If you do not choose a plan within six months, you will be permanently enrolled in the Traditional Plan. While you have six months to make your decision, there is a significant difference in the state contribution benefit related to the timing of enrollment in the Self-Managed Plan (SMP). If you wish to select the SMP, you should do so as soon as possible.

SURS participants do not contribute to Social Security.  If you are new to SURS, you must decide which of our three plans – Traditional, Portable, or Self-Managed (SMP) - is the best choice for your retirement fund.  This is a one-time, irrevocable selection. SURS must receive notification from your employer that you have entered into SURS-covered employment before you can make this election.   Many employers submit this certification to SURS after your first payroll; however, your employer may be different.  For clarification of your employer’s reporting guidelines, you should contact your employer’s Human Resources office.
               
Click here to view a list of SURS-covered employers

SURS will send out a packet of information on the Monday, Wednesday, or Friday following receipt of the certification from your employer.  The packet is mailed to the address provided by your employer.  If you provided your employer with a temporary address, please contact SURS to update your address.

Click here for SURS contact information 

The packet of information includes:

  • Cover Letter – This letter provides your deadline date to choose a plan.  You have six months to select a plan.  If you do not choose a plan, you will default into the Traditional Plan.  If you wish to select the SMP, you should do so as soon as possible.
  • Tier Fact Sheet – This fact sheet indicates whether you are Tier I or Tier II.  The date you first become a participant with SURS or another qualified Illinois retirement system covered under the Illinois Reciprocal Act determines your eligibility for SURS benefits and vesting requirements. It is important that you notify SURS if you have participated in another Illinois retirement system or if you had previous participation with SURS and accepted a refund. 

Click here to view a list of reciprocal systems

  • Retirement Choice Booklet - This booklet can help guide your choice of retirement plan.  Please read it thoroughly.  Click here to view the booklet.
  • Self-Managed Plan Getting Started Guide – If you are considering the SMP, you should review the SMP Getting Started Guide. This guide provides an overview of the funds offered from Fidelity and TIAA and instructions for selecting your provider(s) and investment options.
  • Retirement Choice Election Form – Complete this form and return to SURS to select a plan. This form must be submitted to SURS by the deadline date noted on the cover letter.
    You have two options to return the form. You may go online to www.surs.org and click on the Member Login button to access, complete and electronically sign the Retirement Choice Election form; or you may fill out the enclosed form and return it to SURS in the self-addressed, stamped envelope. We will send you a written confirmation of your plan choice.   If you do not choose a plan within six months, you will default and be permanently enrolled in the Traditional Benefit Plan. 
  • Postage-paid return envelope

You should review all of the materials in the Choice Election Packet.  The following resources may also help you choose a plan:

  • Webinars:  SURS offers monthly Plan Choice Webinars.  The webinars provide an overview of the Traditional, Portable, and Self-Managed Plans and include a Q & A session.  The webinars are for Tier II employees (participants who were first employed by SURS or another reciprocal system on or after January 1, 2011). Visit Seminars and Webinars to register.

If you have questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact SURS:

  • Dial Toll Free:  800-275-7877
  • Dial Direct:  217-378-8800

You must choose your retirement plan and complete your Retirement Choice Election form within six months from the date SURS receives your certification of employment. You have two options to return the form. You may go online to www.surs.org and click on the Member Login button to access, complete and electronically sign the Retirement Choice Election form; or you may fill out the enclosed form and return it to SURS in the self-addressed, stamped envelope. We will send you a written confirmation of your plan choice.   If you do not choose a plan within six months, you will default and be permanently enrolled in the Traditional Benefit Plan. 

Don’t Default on your Plan Choice:  This is your chance to choose the plan that is right for you. Remember, your plan choice is an irrevocable, one-time decision that cannot be changed.  If you default into the Traditional Benefit Plan, you will not be able to change your plan at a later date.  A reminder letter will be sent to you prior to your deadline.

If you elect the Portable Plan or Self-Managed Plan you will receive a new Beneficiary Designation Form.  Please complete the form and return it to SURS.  Any prior forms submitted to SURS were submitted under the Traditional Plan and are, therefore, invalid.

If you elect the Self-Managed Plan, you must select your provider and investment options online at netbenefits.com/surs.  If you elect the SMP electronically at www.surs.org, you will automatically be directed to the net benefits website to complete your investment selections.  If you do not select your provider(s) or investment options, you will be defaulted into an age appropriate target date fund.